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In an Australian first trial, QEII Hospital and Redland Hospital are using sophisticated, patient-friendly technology to monitor patients’ vital signs while they’re at home in a bid to better engage patients with their recovery, and give treating clinicians a clearer picture of their progress.
Project Officer Vickie de Jong said that, under the Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) trial, acute patients admitted to Metro South Health’s Hospital in the Home (HITH) program were monitored using a mobile app and Bluetooth equipment.
“The Bluetooth equipment and mobile app measure and log a patient’s vital signs – temperature, pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and weight – and then relays that information back to the healthcare team,” she said.
“If something is outside of a normal range an automatic alert is generated on the hospital computer program and the team act ASAP.
“This is a game changer for people with heart issues, deep vein thrombosis (leg clot), pulmonary embolism (lung clot), wound and skin infections including cellulitis, and other acute chronic conditions, who can stay in the comfort of their home and still receive the monitoring and care they need.”
Ms de Jong said the trial had already potentially saved a life by preventing a patient from becoming septic.
“When something is not quite right, most of us tend to wait and see and not seek help straight away. But, with RPM our healthcare team is alerted and can investigate,” she said.
“Because of the RPM we were able to identify one patient who was deteriorating quickly, and we got them the care they needed much faster than if they had waited until they felt sick enough to ask for help.”
So far, 66 patients have participated in the first half of the 12-month trial that is funded via Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Queensland as part of a broader focus on improving and expanding Telehealth.
Telehealth Principal Project Officer Matt Page said the RPM trial was a huge leap forward for HITH.
“The majority of RPM use at the moment is showing benefits to the long-term management of patients with chronic disease conditions, with a focus on hospital avoidance. However, for an acute care service like HITH to adopt remote patient monitoring, it puts them at the forefront which is really exciting,” he said.
"RPM in the HITH setting has the potential to improve patient safety through early detection of deterioration and enhanced clinical decision-making, with added benefits of improved patient experience, treatment compliance and avoided costs associated with home visits and unnecessary Emergency Department presentations.”